Kevin M. Weeks
Department of Chemistry
Area of interest
The vision of our research laboratory is to use chemical principles to create high-content molecular microscopes for understanding the central role of RNA in biology, with a focus on addressing real-world problems and understanding human disease and cancer. To this end, we have developed, validated, and broadly applied information-rich RNA structure analysis technologies. SHAPE technology, developed in my laboratory, is now in use worldwide.
We then apply these new approaches to compelling, and otherwise intractable, problems in biology, including cancer biology. In particular, we use the high-throughput technologies created by our laboratory to study very complex systems that play pivotal roles in cellular function and human disease. Students in the lab meld and, collectively, make use of the methods of physical and mechanistic biochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, structural biology, virology, microbiology, and computational bioinformatics and biophysics. Current projects include (i) RNA folding and protein assembly reactions central to the replication of human viruses, (ii) assembly and function of large and biomedically important ribonucleoprotein complexes inside living cells, and (iii) facile analysis of small molecule binding to RNA.
Awards and Honors
Graduate students in the lab have been named Lineberger, NIH, and National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellows and postdoctoral colleagues have been awarded national, competitive fellowships from the American Cancer Society, the NIH, and the Human Frontiers Program.
Our lab has been recognized with an NIH EUREKA Award, an NSF Career Award, a Searle Scholar Award in the Biomedical Sciences, a Research Innovation Award, an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at the National Institutes of Health, plenary lectureships at technology and HIV conferences, and by the 2009 North Carolina Health & Life Sciences Promise for Tomorrow Award.